family 2a“I worry that my high parental expectations for my child are making him anxious. What if I push too hard?”

Have you thought or said this? Sometimes it is difficult to know what is the best approach to parenting, especially when it comes to having  high expectations for your child. Are you going to psychologically damage him because you see potential and want the best?

UCLA profession, Neil Halfon and his colleagues conducted a national survey with 6,600 children born in 2001. They looked at how parental expectations affected their children in attaining goals. They discovered that, regardless of economic status, those parents who envisioned college in their child’s future, directed them towards that goal.

What we expect of children helps them attain success. You may have heard of the Pygmalion effect–what you expect of someone can be a self-fulling prophecy. Teachers concur. If you expect your child to succeed, you help them attain success. So discussing college, getting a job that is career focused, etc. is a goof thing to do. It helps children shoot for goals.

Of course there is a balance of putting too high expectations on children. So parental expectations need to be realistic, but challenging. So instead of worrying about not pushing them towards success, talk about their ability to achieve and succeed. You may just help that child reach his or her potential.


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